Ward vs Kovalev rematch: A dangerous move for the Russian?
Last night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Andre Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) kept his prefect record intact by defeating Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) via a razor thin verdict... But the win wasn't without controversy.
While all three judges scored it 114-113, many fans had Kovalev winning.
FightSaga's Lee Cleveland, watching from home, scored it 115-113 for Kovalev while FightSaga's Mark Weber, watching from ringside, favored Ward 114-113.
So what's next?
According to promoter Kathy Duva, Team Kovalev will exercise the Ward vs Kovalev rematch clause in the contract.
“There is a rematch clause,” Duva confirmed. “The only way it’s not immediate is if both fighters agree for it not to be immediate. But we will not be agreeing to that. It will be immediate.”
Given many, if not most, fans thought Kovalev won, an immediate rematch should be aggressively pursued by the former light heavyweight champion, right?
... Maybe not.
Ward vs Kovalev was a 'tale of two fights.' Sergey won the early rounds and Ward asserted himself in the second half.
Andre is a master of adaptation and he adapted well last night. After a disatrous first three rounds, Ward, who tasted the canvas in the second round, figured out Kovalev and battled back to, at the very least, make it highly competitive.
Ward's win might be debatable but one can't argue Andre found solid success in the last five rounds of the fight.
If Ward vs Kovalev 2 is a continuation of their first fight, we could see Ward cruise to wider victory because he's apparently solved the puzzle of Sergey Kovalev.
Hence Round 1 of the Ward vs Kovalev rematch would essentially be Round 13 of a bout that was trending for Ward.
And back-to-back loses, even if close, would drop the Russian's stock.
Team Kovalev has a tough decision to make. Do they really want an immediate rematch with a fella who may have their guy all figured out?
If I'm Ms. Duva, I'm looking at the last five or six rounds with concern. Once Ward adjusted, Kovalev wasn't effective.
I'm not saying the decision wasn't controversial... The fight could have easily been scored for Sergey.
But again, once Ward adjusted, Kovalev wasn't effective.
In a rematch, Ward would likely enter already adjusted.